Is a multi-jurisdictional Will required?

Isle of Man Probate
When immigration advice goes bad
Isle of Man Probate
When immigration advice goes bad
Show all

Is a multi-jurisdictional Will required?

Whether your current Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is sufficient to cover all your assets is one of the most important questions. Answering this relatively simple question is not always so simple.

People are increasingly gathering assets offshore or abroad whether this be because a financial institution has made offshore investments and banking available (which is on the uptrend) or due to a student completing their experiential training abroad and being required to open a foreign bank account or whether you have decided to immigrate to another country.

Expats often do not consider the impact of their new life and assets they accumulate, neither does the person who has diversified his investments or travelled abroad to complete experiential training.

What may the current position be in respect to my wishes?

Your current Will may be insufficient to ensure that your wishes are complied with in respect of the foreign assets, resulting in your foreign assets devolving upon your intestate beneficiaries.

What are my options?

Review your current Will with an experienced adviser who understands the laws applicable to each jurisdiction in which you hold assets, whether that be investments, bank accounts, shares, bonds, movable property (cars) or immovable property (a house or flat).

Depending on your individual circumstances you may elect either of the following:

  1. A ‘worldwide’ Will: This is a single Will which is written in such a manner that it complies with the legal requirements of both jurisdictions (country); or
  2. Ensure that you have a separate Will drafted for each jurisdiction.

Factors which influence the validity of my Will:

Various factors should be taken into consideration by your legal adviser whether a worldwide Will or separate Wills should be drafted, these include but are not limited to:

  1. Where are you domiciled (permanently live);
  2. Which laws will find application to the Will;
  3. Does your Will comply with the requirements of the foreign jurisdiction and will it be accepted there;
  4. Are the storage and safeguarding of Wills the same in all the jurisdictions;
  5. Does the legal principles relating to ownership in the foreign jurisdiction align with the legal principles of ownership in my country of domicile; and
  6. Does the foreign jurisdiction recognise total freedom of testation or does this jurisdiction enforce forced heirship and what are the implications.

Do different jurisdictions have different requirements?

Yes, each legal jurisdiction has different requirements in respect of the Wills accepted by them. Differences exist between the requirement even between Engand and Wales and the British Isles.

Some of these differences may be outlined as follows:

  1. Format of the Will;
  2. Clauses contained in the Will;
  3. Administrative powers which may be granted to the representative (executors and trustees);
  4. Allowable directions or wishes that may be included;
  5. Protection clauses in respect of the beneficiaries and their bequests; and
  6. Formalities in respect of attestation (signing the Will) and who may sign.


In some instances, a worldwide Will ought to be sufficient and accepted in the foreign jurisdiction, this should however be checked and confirmed. If the Will fails for any reason, the assets in the foreign jurisdiction may be subject to that jurisdictions intestate laws causing portions of those assets to be gifted to individuals you may not with to benefit.

Depending on the service provider utilised to expand your investment portfolio, they may have offered you a Will to ensure that the foreign assets are adequately dealt with. In these instances, it often happens that your original Will is inadvertently revoked (cancelled).

Immigrants are all required to open a bank account in their new country, they often purchase cars and eventually a house or flat to live in. Often forgetting that these assets are in all probability not protected or taken into account in their current Will.

Seeking legal advice when you have a change in personal circumstances, whether major like immigrating or minor like expanding your existing investment portfolio is imperative to ensure that your wishes are possible one day.

Kinley Legal has vast experience in immigration, probate, and the drafting of Wills for multi-nationals. We can help you assess your situation, advise on the best manner to achieve your wishes, and provide you peace of mind ensuring your wishes will be achieved.  

Contact us

Please contact us by completing our enquiry form or sending us an e-mail for further details of the requirements, and to find out how Kinley Legal can assist with a bespoke, Isle of Man specific Will.